Ask anyone about Barbie and that person will most likely tell you a thing or two about this iconic doll. We’ve seen her become different versions of herself—from being a fashion icon, designer, business woman, reporter and a doctor to being the president—staying true to the main reason why she was created: to empower young girls.
From New York City, Barbie was brought to the Philippines by a woman with a story as inspiring as her. When Myrna Yao decided to be the bridge between young Filipino girls and Barbie, all she wished for was to give every kid a happy childhood.
“Aside from giving children happiness, playing Barbie will train them how to take good care of themselves and have proper grooming. They will learn to dress without the help of other people,” said Yao, Richprime Global Inc. President.
“The play value that we introduced is the creativity of free play and imagination, not only in fashion but also with furniture. Another play pattern that we injected in the play value is the friendship and relationship with their siblings and friends,” she added.
According to Yao, Barbie is a symbol of independent women and a reminder for girls to never be swayed by the standards of society, particularly sexist gender stereotypes.
“It is the only doll who exhibits the value of women empowerment to little girls by showing them that they can be successful in their chosen car
eer. Since Barbie convey different roles of women, little girls will be able to dream and choose who they want to be in the future,” Yao shared.
“Giving them confidence and outlook already start to empower them at a young age. They will soon idolize successful women and be able to learn from them. Empowerment actually comes from within through learning from others.”
Before Richprime Global Inc. became the main distributor of Barbie, it was Richwell which was awarded the exclusive distributorship of Mattel Toys in the Philippines. Following the growing popularity of toys despite the political and economic instability at that time, Richwell received the license to manufacture Barbie dolls in 1989.
“At first, it was very challenging due to the fact that toys are only sold during the Christmas season. With this, I have to introduce numerous marketing strategies from a store display and merchandising in order to promote and advertise Barbie, thus, making Barbie as the first toy to be advertised in television,” Yao recalled.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Barbie. While this is already a commendable feat, Yao believes that Barbie will still be relevant and relatable after another 60 years.
“Barbie in the next 60 years has embraced the technology and the digital world,” Yao said. “Barbie’s fashion will always be ahead and may change through time but there is a revival of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and 90’s fashion through Barbie dolls. It will exhibit the fashion history to the world. Future generations will be able to see the progress of fashion as time goes by.”
Yao currently runs Richprime Global Inc. with her daughters Liza and Jane. Considered as the women behind Barbie in the Philippines, they will continue supporting Barbie’s mission of letting little girls believe that they can be who they want to be.